Roe v. Wade and IVF

I don't write about politics often on this blog, although I'm sure it's not hard for regular readers to infer which way I lean.

A few weeks ago, I wanted to write a post about John Edwards, but I was just so completely disgusted by him and what he did to his wife and his marriage that I couldn't summon sentences that weren't laced with foul language and profanity.

But an article I read earlier this week has moved me to write on a potential political situation that has far-reaching consequences I never even considered: the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade on treating infertility with IVF.

The gist of the article is this: If John McCain wins the presidency (shudder), he has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade by selecting a Supreme Court justice (or justices) who ascribe to his conservative views on abortion. One of the court's liberal members (John Paul Stevens) is 88 years old. Another (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) is 75. It seems probable that at least one of them will retire in the next four years, paving the way for McCain to select whomever he wants to fill his/her spot.

And then every pro-choicer's worst nightmare in all likelihood will transpire.

The purpose of this post isn't to argue my views on abortion. I'm solidly pro-choice. Always have been, always will be. But the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade goes beyond stripping away a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion. As the author of this article writes, it will mean the end of IVF as well.

McCain, as do most pro-lifers, believes a person is entitled to human rights at the moment of conception. With that philosophy made into law, embryos cannot be destroyed either for scientific experimentation (think stem cell research) or discarded or frozen following an IVF cycle transfer.

It is extremely rare for an IVF cycle to produce only one, two, or three top-notch embryos, all of which the patient opts to transfer. In fact, the entire purpose of an IVF cycle is to produce many embryos, to increase the statistical odds that two or three will develop into the 8-cell, Grade A embryos most doctors look for to transfer for the best odds at achieving pregnancy.

In my case, during my IVF cycle with Isabella, 15 eggs were retrieved, 12 fertilized and developed into embryos, 7 matured into 8-cell embryos, and the best 2 were transferred, and 1 of them became Isabella. 4 embryos were frozen from the original 12 that fertilized and 3 were used for my FET from which I'm now pregnant. If you can follow that "fuzzy math," we ended up discarding 2 embryos total. If the option to donate them for stem cell research had been available, I would have done exactly that.

By giving these cells human rights, John McCain and the conservative justice he appoints to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade will in essence strip away the ability for millions of infertile couples like me to have a child.

Over six million women in this country suffer from infertility. They attend their friends' baby showers and put on brave faces. They eat their lunches in the office cafeteria surrounded by coworkers talking about their kids' weekend soccer games. They go home at night to their partners, who may or may not understand what it's like for a woman who wants a child so desperately to be surrounded day in and day out by a very child-focused world.

To take the right away from infertile couples to use medical science to try and conceive a child is an injustice I cannot wrap my mind around. It seems unfathomable to me, and yet if November sees the election of the Republican candidate, there is a very good chance this will happen.

9 Responses to “Roe v. Wade and IVF”

  1. # Anonymous Kris

    The possible election of McCain scares me for so many reasons. I have hope that it won't happen though. I'm not sure I'll be able to exhale fully until November 2nd though...  

  2. # Anonymous Ness

    I'm with you on this one. Why on gods green earth women aren't allowed to make choices is beyond me. If they overturn something like this, how soon until they abolish the freakin' pill? huh? Craziness.  

  3. # Blogger Tracey

    There are so many levels to every decision... I personally do believe that life begins at the moment of conception. That little bundles of cells are, indeed, individual human beings with souls. However, I also know that carrying every soul that is conceived will ever be feasible option. At least, not in my own lifetime. While I don't want to do away with abortion, I wish that the money invested in some of the poorly run programs would be devoted to actually HELPING pregnant women in crisis to have options. Not just the options of abortion now or adoption later. But REAL choices, with REAL help.  

  4. # Blogger Mom24

    John McCain's views on abortion are so inconsistent. He supports stem cell research, yet says life begins at conception. Doesn't make sense to me.

    Thanks for another perspective. I personally don't believe that whatever happens with the election, abortion will ever be completely outlawed.  

  5. # Blogger MrsSpock

    Yet another reason I'm voting for Obama.  

  6. # Blogger MsPrufrock

    The absurdity of all of this astounds me. After my IVF I donated all of my remaining embryos to research the causes behind miscarriage. Those are MY embryos, comprised of parts of me, and if I want to donate them to any form of research, that is no one's business but my own.

    Oh, I do despair. That, and I'm scared.  

  7. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I never have even thought about this issue .. Yet another reason I am 100% supporting Obama/Biden '08. God help our country!!  

  8. # Blogger Sasha

    I love this post. It is SO important that people understand the repercussions and the rippling effect that a vote for this ticket will have. Our childrens' future positively depends on defeating this shudderingly evil platform.  

  9. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    I didn't realize that IVF could be impacted! I'm definitely not a McCain fan, but didn't realize I had another reason to add to my growing roster.  

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    mother to a daughter
    born in August 2006 following
    IVF and girl/boy twins born in October 2008 following FET. Come along as I document the search for my lost intellect. It's a bumpy ride. Consider yourself warned.

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